The Skills Academy’s Southwest flagship centre the Energy Skills Centre at Bridgwater College has been officially opened by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon Chris Huhne.
The £8 million facility in Somerset will provide a first-class learning environment to meet the growing demand for training in science and engineering from local employers.
One section of the building will provide training in science and engineering including robotics, welding, electronics, process control and material science. A second section, the Realistic Working Environment, will train students in decommissioning and operating nuclear power stations.
The college roof, meanwhile, will have a wind turbine, solar heating and photovoltaic cells, forming a teaching area where students will be able to study and research green energy technologies.
The Energy Skills Centre is a key part of plans to deliver the region’s economic and skills development objectives. Approximately 60% of the training programme will be dedicated to raising skills in high-technology, knowledge-based industries, while the remaining 40% will support reactor decommissioning and prepare for nuclear new build.
Bridgwater College provides education and training for 3,100 students aged 16-18 and approximately 11,000 adults per year. In addition to providing learning programmes in a wide range of subject areas, the College also has a large apprenticeship training programme with around 550 apprentices undertaking work-based training in local companies.
David Bonser, Chair of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear said;
The launch of the Energy Skills Centre is excellent news for the National Skills Academy Nuclear, the nuclear industry, and for its future workforce. Reflecting the ethos of the Skills Academy, the Energy Skills Centre will be a world class centre for the provision of excellence in vocational skills, training and development, providing Skills Academy Quality Assured training for apprentices and others training to work in and with the nuclear industry all, of which will be recorded on the Nuclear Skills Passport.